Holly Baxter, a world-class bodybuilder and dietitian said that you must break your habit of chronic dieting and eat more in order to build muscle.
For Baxter, who struggled with disordered eating in her teens and intense pressure to stay slim in college, the idea of “gaining weight on purpose” was horrifying.
Effective with a four-year degree in nutrition, she now pursues a master’s of dietetics and finds time working with both bodybuilders and athletes. She had an inspiration that led her to give it a try herself, among the clientele.
Despite being on a calorie surplus during her first bulking cycle, which means gaining muscle (and weight), Baxter said the process “worked incredibly well,” leaving her building a lot of muscle and looking and feeling stronger than ever.
“Experience it and trust the process on the other side,” she said.
Bulking helped Baxter improve her relationship with eating
Braxton Bishop, a certified personal trainer and the owner of Dead Man Barbell in Denver works with clients to identify how their routine impacts their sleep habits, body composition and performance goals.
“As I learned, I understood what was perfect for my physical and mental health, and it helped me overcome that eating disorder”, she said.
It was also physically and emotionally rewarding for Baxter to work with her body’s natural hunger cues, after years of eating out of hunger. Bulking also helped her realize at one meal that she was too full to finish what was on her plate. This happened after years of being hungry all the time.
Sue said crying helped her to start eating more again. The hormone response to the treatment made her realize what she was doing wrong and caused her weight to reduce.While bulking, Baxter said, “I slowly saw food not as a source of anxiety, but as fuel to support a strong, healthy body”.
“I noticed a change in my body when I started getting bigger and stronger. I no longer wanted to avoid foods like bread or frozen yogurt,” Ms. Reddy said.
Working out off and on, dieting and binging
Like many people with disordered eating, Baxter said she had particular anxieties about foods like ice cream, Nutella, and cereals.
During the bulking phase, she discovered these calorie-dense foods were helpful for putting on muscle. She was able to stop struggling with cravings and guilt about her “fear foods” in the process. She said that having food made her feel restricted, and now she can enjoy them without feeling guilty.
By building muscle, Baxter also increased her overall metabolism, which allowed her to eat what she enjoyed and still meet her goals.
“I was amazed by the way metabolic adaptation helped me to eat the foods I enjoyed and stay thin,” she said. “It took me a bit of time to get used to it, but now I wish I could go back in time and do it again.”